Men Embrace Gender Equality, But Not Chore Equality -- And That Pisses Me Off

by Clint Edwards
Originally Published: 
man looking up with arms folded with wife
10'000 Hours/Getty

According to a 2020 gallop poll, Married or partnered heterosexual couples in the U.S. continue to divide household chores along largely traditional lines, with the woman in the relationship shouldering primary responsibility for doing the laundry (58%), cleaning the house (51%) and preparing meals (51%).

You know what? This pisses me off. Because, dudes, you guys are making me look bad. I have spent years writing about parenting and marriage, arguing for egalitarian lifestyles, where men are working just as hard as women in taking care of the home, only to find out you guys are talking a good game. But when it comes to actually vacuuming the floor, you aren’t doing it.

What the hell? Guys, we are past this. We are. This isn’t 1954, okay? This is 2020. Women comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce. This is a fact. And yet, they still fulfill a larger share of household responsibilities?

Doesn’t that seem wrong to you?

Because it should.

I get it. It feels almost impossible to raise children, make a mortgage payment, car payment, and pay off all those student loans without both parents working. I know this because I’m living it myself. I work two jobs, one at a university and another writing, while my wife is a full time teacher at our children’s school, a job that never really ends with all the grading and lesson prep.

The fact is, it takes both parents working to make the money, so this “I bring home the bacon” argument is dead in the water. So drop it. If your wife works full time, you don’t have any excuse to be avoiding the household chores.

Furthermore, who do you think you are?

Listen, man, last night I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. I timed myself. It took 20 minutes. I also vacuumed, which took another 20 minutes. I folded and put away a load of laundry. 20 more minutes. I didn’t even break a sweat, I contributed to the household, and all of it took about as much time as it takes to watch an episode of Stranger Things. And do you know what happened? My wife and I watched Netflix together because we both had the available time.

What it sounds like to me is that most men are open to women’s equality outside the home because they need a second income, but when it comes to pulling your weight in the home, you aren’t that interested.

Guys, cut the crap and grab a vacuum. It is time. You know what, scratch that, it is past the time. We should be long past all this. We should be shoulder to shoulder with our wives from bringing in the income to taking care of the home.

While I’m sure it would be nice, no one is asking you to do all the household chores. What is being asked of you is to pull equal weight around the house. Particularly in families where both parents work outside the home.

This is equality. This is what it looks like right now, in 2020, when making ends meet takes two parents working. Expecting your partner to work outside the home and still do the majority of the household chores is servitude. It’s crap. It rude. It’s unjust. It’s why your wife gives you the side eye all the time. It’s why she doesn’t have time to take a shower. It’s why she looks across the kitchen counter at you with animosity because she loading the dishwasher while you are jacking around on your phone.

It is quite probably why she’s not in the mood for sex.

I mean, honestly, would you want to have sex with someone who expected you to do unequal amounts of labor? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that might just be the unsexiest thing in the history of sex appeal.

I want to live in a world where every couple can look across the table at each other and say, “That’s my partner and we share the load equally.” How awesome would that be? But I can’t. I want to, but I can’t. And frankly, that needs to change.

Take one more look at the percentages above. Take a good look. There are obviously a lot of men out there doing half the labor around the house, and that is awesome. I love you guys!

But those of you who don’t, those of you who feel like it’s “women’s work,” knock it off. And if you aren’t sure if you are pulling equal weight, ask your wife. Don’t be afraid. Go ahead and ask her. I bet she will have an opinion on this very topic. She will tell you if you are doing your fair share. And be ready to listen, because if you aren’t, step it up. Make changes. Your marriage might just depend on it.

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